A federal health agency is considering an emergency order quarantining South Burlington due to an outbreak of an unknown infectious agent that causes:

1) Exposed city officials to borrow and spend money with little regard for the long-term impact on taxpayers.

2) An insatiable lust to build on a post-World War II Marshall Plan scale. 

Epidemiologists from the federal agency have been dispatched and a declaration of mass cognitive impairment is being considered in order to justify actions to prevent the spread of the hypothetical pathogen.

The earliest indications of the emergence of a new infectious agent affecting the logic pathways of the brain’s cerebral cortex involves the city’s unique, but stupefying, approach to fighting global warming by cutting down trees, pouring ton after ton of concrete, creating more impervious surfaces by laying down more asphalt, and eliminating open space by promoting the development of an endless supply of houses that will attract more people who will arrive with more cars and a mega-Amazon warehouse amount of “stuff.” 

The city also plans to erect mega-buildings, including a brand new middle and high school complete with an indoor track-and-field facility and possibly a new performing arts center. 

One thing the new school will not have is classrooms where students are verbally assaulted with 40 minutes of “facts.” High school Principal Patrick Burke put the kibosh on such malevolent pedagogy when he said: “Gone are the days of teachers lecturing basic facts for 40 minutes” (The Other Paper, April 18). Oh, the horror of 40 minutes of facts! Other than explaining everything members of our species know about the human body, planet Earth and the universe humans reside in, what good are facts?  

More evidence of an infectious agent impacting the brain’s logic pathways is the city’s decision to push ahead with a new recreation center, even though residents voted down an increase in the sales tax to fund such a center. 

Infection by the hypothetical nefarious pathogen has led the city council to believe that the primary function of city residents is to gleefully pay their taxes; any personal thoughts they have about the future of South Burlington should be kept to themselves. Do they (taxpayers) think they live in a democracy where people’s priorities and desires determine policy?

The yet-to-be-isolated unknown pathogen will likely affect the ability to accurately project costs of new city mega-buildings, so whatever dollar figures the school board and city come up with for these new buildings, residents should double and possibly triple the estimates in order to determine the impact on their wallets.

And speaking of wallets, more evidence of an insidious new pathogen loose in South Burlington is the recent release of city taxes, which are up 4.2 percent for 2019-20 even though Federal Reserve Chair Powell tells us inflation remains “stubbornly” below the Fed’s target of 2 percent. Well, it’s only money, and considering the federal government considers debt to be more or less irrelevant (current aggregate federal debt of $22 trillion growing by $1 trillion and more per year for the next decade and beyond), why should taxpayers in South Burlington worry about “no upper limit” tax bills. 

This Fictional Public Health Emergency bulletin is a late-breaking development and residents are encouraged to remain alert for further developments and announcements.

Non-fiction bio: Gerry Silverstein taught human health and disease at UVM for 21 years. Students showed their absolute and nauseating disgust for the blizzard of facts he mercilessly assaulted them within 50-minute presentations, day after day, year after year, by presenting him with eight respected Teaching Awards.

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